Dying Teacher on Journey to Find Out if he Made a Difference



One of the most difficult parts of being a teacher is letting your students go at the end of the year. Often we feel that there was more to be achieved and that if we were given more time, we could have further strengthened the child’s self-esteem and classroom skills. We also wonder if the progress made during under our tutelage will be built on by future teachers. And most of all, when that child looks back at their formative years, will they remember us?

I can understand how important it is for a dying teacher to find out if all the time and devotion spent on teaching his pupils actually made a difference:

David Menasche has stage-four brain cancer and is losing his battle after three operations, chemotherapy and radiation, USA Today reports.

After a recent seizure led to brain swelling and decreased vision, the 40-year-old Miami high school teacher realised he couldn’t keep teaching but didn’t want to sit at home doing nothing.

He posted a message on Facebook in August asking if any former students had a place for him to stay, and within two days students in 50 cities had replied.

He has visited 50 former students in 12 cities so far and says he wants to know whether he has been a good teacher.

“I am at the end of my life,” Mr Menasche said.

“I don’t know how much longer I have left, and I just wanted that sense of satisfaction that the time I did have I used well.”

He said his cancer treatment had caused extensive memory loss and he hoped his students’ stories would also help him remember.

“I don’t remember my childhood at all,” he said.

“In fact, I don’t remember anything prior to roughly 16 or 17 years old.

“And even the things that I was doing as a teacher are somewhat spotty.”

Last week, he slept on the couch of former student and aspiring screenwriter Stephen Palahach.

Mr Palahach said as a teacher Mr Menasche had known all the bands he and his friends listened to and had pushed him to be open-minded about what he read.

“I’ve had great teachers in my life, but he was really present in the moment,” Mr Palahach said.

Mr Menasche taught nearly 3000 students while working as an English teacher for 15 years.

An online fundraising campaign is helping to pay for his trip and he hopes to write a book about interviews with his students.

Click on the link to read Introducing the World’s Oldest Teacher

Click on the link to read School Shooting Showcases the Heroic Nature of Brilliant Teachers

Click on the link to read Meet the Armless Math Teacher

Click on the link to read School Fires Entire Staff!

Click on the link to read The Case of a Teacher Suspended for Showing Integrity

Click on the link to read Teaching is Worth It!


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